I wrote in the fly leaf of my Bible today a few words spoken by a very special six-year-old boy: “Talent cannot work unless you are there.”
The talent that lies untapped in all of us understands this. How many books are unwritten, inventions not invented, songs unsung, neighbors unvisited and business ventures untried? These good-intentioned projects aren’t held back for want of ideas or talent, they simply lack the “being there.” Accomplishment requires time, effort and, most crucial, presence. There is no ex nihilo in the human realm.
This is why I am a believer in AFM. AFM puts presence (people) where the need is. AFM embraces the principle that if we can get people on the ground, talent combines with Spirit guidance to succeed. This methodology thrives because Jesus showed that even He was not bigger than the presence principle. Dreams are nice; angels are helpful; miracles are good. But presence wins the day. “And the Word dwelt among us.”
Tentmaking mission is this principle of presence lived out to its highest capacity, because in tentmaking, talent and presence naturally exist in the same place at the same time.
I know an Adventist who is a government official, an assistant to an ambassador. His job (talent) puts him in a city of five million people in the heart of an unreached Muslim nation. Now, there is no way in the world that the church or AFM could hire a man so well positioned for influence. But, as a tentmaker, his talent and presence naturally combine to make a dynamite impact. This man is salaried by the government. He costs the church no budget, no offerings, nor sacrificial financial donations, yet he and his wife had the resolve and will to begin a church in their home that has grown to more than a dozen worshipers. This is what GoTential is all about.
I am friends with another man who ran a successful business in Switzerland. He was a Muslim until he fell ill at age 59 and was healed by Jesus. His testimony is so stirring, and he tells it with tears of awe and gratitude to Christ streaming down his cheeks. All he wants to do now is make an impact in the world for his Lord. And so, instead of spending his retirement in Switzerland, he has moved to the Mediterranean, primarily to be present among Muslims. And what is his talent? He loves to fish, so he spends his days leisurely fishing, which gives him an opportunity to share the story of Jesus with Muslim men fishing alongside him.
Tentmaking isn’t complicated. It is about talent and presence coming together to do something of eternal significance. Maybe you fish or engineer or nurse or teach or market or program or simply can speak. Why not take a job overseas among unreached people, or retire overseas for a year or two?
As it now says in the flyleaf of my Bible, “Talent cannot work unless you are there.”